Sarbanes Votes to Protect Americans from Harmful PFAS Forever Chemicals

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today voted to pass the PFAS Action Act (H.R. 2467), a bill to protect American families and communities from harmful per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals.

The bill includes a bipartisan provision authored by Congressman Sarbanes that expands the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the best available science to address PFAS risks by requiring manufacturers to provide reference standards for all PFAS chemicals.

“PFAS toxins threaten more than 100 million Americans and pose serious risks to human health – including cancer, immune deficiencies, developmental disabilities, reproductive system disorders and other serious maladies,” said Congressman Sarbanes, Vice Chair of the House Health Subcommittee and a key member of the House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee. “This bipartisan effort will help reduce PFAS pollution and keep American families, service members and communities safe from these dangerous forever chemicals.”

Scientists refer to PFAS as “forever chemicals” because they linger in the environment and persist inside the bodies of humans, animals and other organisms for long periods of time.

Key provisions of the PFAS Action Act include:

  • Reducing PFAS Pollution in Water, Air and Soil: Cleans up contaminated sites and water systems, sets a new drinking water standard for PFAS that protects public health – including the health of pregnant women, infants and children – establishes air emissions standards, prohibits unsafe incineration of PFAS substances and limits the introduction of new PFAS chemicals in commercial activity.
     
  • Enhancing PFAS Testing: Requires comprehensive testing of all PFAS chemicals to identify health risks.
     
  • Increasing PFAS Monitoring and Reporting Capacity: Strengthens reporting requirements when PFAS are released into the environment and improves drinking water monitoring standards to guard against PFAS contamination.
     
  • Bolstering Scientific Analysis of PFAS: Requires the EPA to develop health and safety studies on all PFAS chemicals and provides the EPA with tools and resources to better identify and mitigate PFAS health risks.
     
  • Improving PFAS Hazard Labeling: Creates a voluntary label for cookware free of PFAS and provides information to first responders about how to limit PFAS exposure.
     
  • Boosting PFAS Public Education: Informs communities of PFAS health risks by requiring the EPA Administrator to develop a risk-communication strategy and to establish a website with information about testing household well water.